When a teenage Jane Austen becomes gravely ill at boarding school, her sixteen-year-old cousin, Jenny Cooper, wanders out at midnight into the streets of Southampton in order to send word to the Austen family. There, she meets the handsome Captain Thomas Williams, who offers to help her find her way in the dark streets. When the two girls are taken from the school (after Jenny, too, becomes ill, and Mrs Austen find out about the way the girls have been treated-badly!) and Jenny goes to stay with the Austens, she believes she will never see Captain Williams again, but when their paths cross at a ball, Jenny worries that the captain has the power both to ruin her reputation and break her heart.
I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend is told in the form of Jenny’s diary entries. There’s a lot of information about the Austen family (Jane’s brothers all seem to have a crush on Jenny) and much detailed gushing over balls and gowns, which I though was really imaginative, and made me long for the beautiful dress she wears to the Social Event of the Century.
The Author’s note at the end of the book was interesting and helpful, as I found out that Jenny Cooper (the main character) would have actually been called Jane Cooper, and was older than Jane Austen, so it would have been more likely that Jenny would have been Cassandra’s (Jane Austen’s older sister) friend, but she was a real person.
The romance that the girls have are true and natural, as it is what could happen in real life in that time. Such an imaginative book, and I CAN’T WAIT to read the sequel!!
Posted by Cicely Thomas, aged 13